Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Canada's High Home Sales

The following is a great article from the Financial Post.  Nice to read something positive about the our housing market amidst all the turmoil in the world economy:

Christine Dobby  Nov 15, 2011 - 10:58 AM ET | Last Updated: Nov 15, 2011 12:57 PM ET

With sales of existing homes in Canada rising in October to the highest level since January, the Canadian Real Estate Association boosted its forecast for resale activity for 2011.

The industry group released data on October sales activity as well as a revised forecast for the year on Tuesday.

National sales of existing homes increased 1.2% from the previous month, building on a gain of 2.5% in September. Price gains however cooled to 5.5%, the smallest gains since January.

A total of 397,561 resale units have traded hands so far this year, CREA said, up 1.8% from levels in the first 10 months of 2010.

Here's what you need to know about the booming Canadian housing market:

Ontario leads the way

Third-quarter sales activity in the province was stronger than forecast, while the rest of the country came in broadly in line with expectations, the CREA said.

It was the strength of activity in Ontario that prompted the CREA to boost its annual forecast for 2011 to 1.4%, up from 0.9%.

The industry group now predicts national sales of 453,300 for the year, compared with 446,915 in 2010.

198,000 of 2011's residential sales are expected to come from Ontario, with Quebec and British Columbia expected to have sales of 77,000 and 76,600, respectively.

Home prices are still up but showing signs of cooling down

CREA kept its national average home price forecast for the year little changed at $362,700. That's an annual increase of 7.0% compared with $339,049 in 2010.

Prices are expected to remain flat next year, with the CREA forecasting $362,700 again for 2012.

The industry group pointed to moderating prices in Vancouver in the third quarter compared with the first half of the year, with sales of multi-million dollar properties in that city returning to "more normal levels."

CREA said the national average price in October rose 5.5% from a year earlier to just under $362,899, the smallest increase since January.

The balance of supply and demand is tight but the market remains on solid footing

October's monthly rise in sales resulted in a slightly tighter balance of supply and demand, but the national housing market remains "firmly rooted in balanced territory," the CREA said.

The national sales-to-new listings ratio, a measure of market balance, stood at 53.4% in October, up from 52.8% in September.

Low interest rates continue to bolster the market

CREA also revised its forecast for 2012 upward slightly, predicting a smaller easing than previously expected of 0.5% to 451,200 units.

The uptick is largely due to expectations that Canada's interest rates will stay low until well into 2012, CREA said.

But domestic and global economic headwinds could put pressure on the sector

"A number of factors will keep Canada's housing market in check as interest rates remain low," said Gregory Klump, CREA's chief economist.

He pointed to tightened mortgage regulations, high household debt and slower economic and job growth as possible headwinds.

However, Mr. Klump noted that persistent news of global economic uncertainty has put only minor dents in consumer confidence to date.

"How confidence evolves depends on how global turmoil plays out over the coming months," he said.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Canada May Housing Stats Rise - lead by multifamily units.

Canadian housing starts rose in May for the third time in four months, led by multiple-unit dwellings, according to government figures.

Work began on 183,600 units at an annual rate on a seasonally adjusted basis, up 2.7 percent from a revised April figure of 178,700, Canada Mortgage & Housing Corp. said today in Ottawa. Economists forecast a reading of 182,000, according to the median of 21 responses in a Bloomberg News survey.

The number of urban homes such as condominiums and apartments rose 4 percent to 100,000 in May. Single-family projects in cities fell 4.1 percent to 61,000 units, the lowest since August 2009. Rural projects were estimated at a 22,600 unit pace.

Housing starts will decline 5.5 percent this year in part because of tighter mortgage regulations, Canada Mortgage & Housing Corp. said in a May 30 forecast. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty in March shortened the maximum amortization period for government-insured mortgages to 30 years from 35 years and lowered the maximum amount homeowners can borrow against the value of their homes, citing concern that Canadians were taking on record debt burdens.

To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Quinn in Ottawa at gquinn1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net; David Scanlan at dscanlan@bloomberg.net.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

More Changes to Mortgage Qualifications

With rising consumer indebtedness among Canadians, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced this morning that the government will be implementing new tighter restrictions on mortgage lending. As of March 18th, mortgages with amortizations greater than 30 years will no longer qualify for government-backed mortgage insurance (CMHC), down from the current 35 years.

In addition to the reducing the maximum amortization, they will also be restricting the amount of money one can obtain through refinancing to 85% of the homes value, down from the current 90%. This will also take effect on March 18th.

Mortgage applications with 35 year amortization and refinancing to 90% will still be accepted up until March 18th. Although, we will see if CMHC doesn't start declining these applications early, as we saw last spring when they reduced the maximum refinance to 90%, down from the previous 95%.

Home buyers will still be able to purchase homes with as little as 5% down payment. There are still ways to purchase with no money down, such as using a 5% cash back and applying it to the down payment. There is no word as to whether CMHC will continue to offer that product after March 18th.

Tomorrow morning, the Bank of Canada makes their next interest rate announcement. The prime rate is expected to remain unchanged at 3.00%.
*All Articles pertaining to Financial Matters are Offered by a third party unrelated to my services. Please ensure you seek-out the advice of your own financial expert. The rule of thumb is to get the advice and rates of three separate companies or professionals*